Who Suffers When Supervisors are Unhappy? The Roles of Leader–Member Exchange and Abusive Supervision

Journal of Business Ethics 151 (3):799-811 (2018)

Driven by the cognitive-neoassociationistic model of aggression, this study examines how supervisors’ negative affect at work influences their interaction with subordinates, which further affects subordinate outcomes. Drawing upon research on power/resource interdependence and victim precipitation theory, we also test whether the positive relationship between supervisors’ negative affect and abusive supervision is moderated by leader–member exchange. Using one hundred and eighty supervisor–subordinate dyads from five hotels, we found that, supervisors’ negative affect at work was positively related to abusive supervision, LMX buffered the positive association between supervisors’ negative affect and abusive supervision, and the indirect effects of supervisors’ negative affect on subordinate outcomes via abusive supervision was buffered by LMX, such that the indirect effects were only found in dyads with lower LMX, but not in dyads with higher LMX. Theoretical contributions and practical implications for managers and organizations were also discussed.
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DOI 10.1007/s10551-016-3247-y
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